Movie Review – Flatliners

No pulse detected on this 90s sci-fi thriller remake.

⭐ ⭐ ½     
Elle Cahill 

Another day, another remake; Flatliners sees Joel Schumacher‘s largely forgotten 1990 film of the same name return to cinemas, begging the question why any studio would feel the need to revive this film. Presumably, Sony hoped today’s audiences would be more receptive to the daring concept, but the original’s failings were never conceptual. Where both films fall down is in execution.

Medical student Courtney (Ellen Page) leads an experiment to visit the afterlife that involves stopping the heart of a subject then reviving them before they hit the four-minute mark. Following the success of her first experiment, each of her fellow students go on to experience the afterlife, only to learn death is something that shouldn’t be meddled with…

On paper, it’s got all the makings for a hit. In the director’s chair is Niels Arden Oplev; most well-known for the Swedish Millennium trilogy (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), he’s proven his abilities to handle sensitive themes before. His cast, much like the original, is filled with “hot right now” stars including Page (Inception), Diego Luna (Rogue One) and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) who have all dared to push the realms of our existence before.

It’s got everything going for it, but it just doesn’t connect. Maybe it’s the overuse of archetypal characters; there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before, and the cast struggle to get any sort of emotional weight out of the limited material on offer. Or it could be that the afterlife purgatory theme throughout is awfully contrived, with each character having to face some sort of moral dilemma that’s filled with plot holes and inconsistencies.

Page isn’t her usual sassy, witty self that we’ve come to know and love, and her supporting cast don’t offer much either. James Norton‘s turn as womanising Jamie is overplayed as is Kiersey Clemons as the highly-strung Sophia in constant contact with her overbearing mother.

For a film marketing itself as a thriller, all it really offers is some jump scares and cheap thrills. My only hope is that when they remake this in another 17 years’ time, they’ll learn from the two previous films and actually make something of this premise.

Flatliners is available in Australian cinemas from September 28

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

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Movie Review – Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a complex beast of a movie. Gargantuan in many ways, both good and bad, it’s a film that we’ll be wrestling with for years to come.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Michael Philp 

Picture a white landscape, tiled with buildings that are only distinguishable by the lines between them. Lights swirl beneath the surface – slowly shifting signs of consciousness – as the camera flies along towards an unknown destination. Eventually, it reaches a small farm, where Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) emerges from a tent to attend to a boiling pot of soup. LAPD blade runner, K (Ryan Gosling), is already waiting for him.

These images are how director Denis Villeneuve stakes his claim to one of science fiction’s most beloved properties: by moving outside of its city and into a whole new behemoth of a universe. Sure, LA is still there, and it’s still perpetually raining, but it’s no longer the main feature. We’re treated instead to an endless buffet of visual delights from outside its borders. A wasteland of orange cloud, fields of trash that orphans scrounge shelter from, the cold white of long-dead farmland, the list goes on. Visuals-wise, there isn’t a damn second of this film that isn’t meticulously crafted. That’d be impressive for a normal blockbuster, but then you notice the run-time, and it hits home what an achievement Blade Runner 2049 is. Villeneuve has blown his competition out of the water, and for that alone he deserves commendation.

He also deserves commendation for expertly walking the line between old and new. It’s not just that he’s expanded the world, it’s that he’s managed to do that while staying true to the original’s iconic aesthetic, and also appropriately updating it. Not only is the colour palette wider, but modern VFX techniques are used alongside old ones to stunning effect. At times it feels more like a homage than an actual sequel, and that’s absolutely a good thing. 2049 is the kind of film that Nicholas Winding-Refn would make if you drowned him in money, and who doesn’t want that?

Even the politics get a good once-over, with climate change and drone warfare now sub-textual factors. It’s not subtle, I’ll give you that, but it helps the film feel appropriately contemporary. Villeneuve has transposed our modern worries onto a familiar template and given it a fresh coat of paint.

That fresh coat can feel jarring at first, though. Lighting enthusiasts will pick the problem up instantly – cinematographer Roger Deakins has lit everything far too well for a supposed noir film. A bright, clean office? That’s not noir, and it’s certainly not Blade Runner, what the hell were they thinking? Have faith, my friends, the second half of the film contains all of the heavenly contrasts you could ask for. One character even jokes about preferring the lights to be brighter, so at least you know Villeneuve is in on it. Again, not subtle, but it’s something.

It’s also undeniable that 2049 is a much more bombastic film than its predecessor. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch‘s score is probably the worst culprit, but he’s only matching the rest of the film’s various explosions and fist-fights. Where the original went small, 2049 goes big. You can partially excuse this enlargement with the fact that 30 years have passed since the events of the first film, so it’s natural for things to have escalated in some ways. But still, it’s hard not to feel a bit weirded out by it. 2049 is Blade Runner reimagined as a true Hollywood blockbuster, and it’s hard not to miss the intimacy of the original.

Blade Runner 2049 is the kind of film you can write entire theses about; it’s that big. Unfortunately, that enormity is also a double-edged sword, and will probably divide fans for years to come. One viewing just doesn’t feel adequate to understand its complexities; there’s too much information demanding to be absorbed. I’m sure that opinions to it will shift over time, as they did with the original. For now, be assured that it is well worth your time and consideration. You’ll walk out desperate for a second viewing, and that’s a remarkable feat for a three-hour film. It’s a miracle, really, but Villeneuve has delivered the best film we could have hoped for.

Blade Runner 2049 is available in Australian cinemas from October 5 

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

Classic Review – Blade Runner 1982

Visually breathtaking, even 35 years later, Blade Runner rightly remains a science fiction classic.

Michael Philp 

The year is 2019, and smokestacks spout fire above Los Angeles. Below, the streets are bursting with life. Neon stalls and crowded markets suffer through rain and smog, flying cars purge themselves in filthy alleyways, and the all-seeing eye of an advertising blimp glides between the buildings. Towering above it all is the Tyrell Corporation’s ziggurat – a monument to the god of this new world, Dr Eldon Tyrell, the creator of more-human-than-human replicants.

These are the first images of Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece, Blade Runner, and they are stunning. Better yet, over the next two hours, you get to witness imagery even more sumptuous and intriguing, while connecting with some of the richest characters in science fiction. We will follow grizzled Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), as he tracks down and “retires” four escaped replicants – banned bioengineered androids. We will sympathise with those replicants and their search for life beyond their creator’s intentions. And ultimately, we will sympathise with Deckard as he struggles with a brutal system that cares little for the lives within it.

Visually speaking, Scott never stops pushing his film. From those first flaming stacks to Roy Batty’s (Rutger Hauer) final monologue, near every frame of the movie is a feast for the eyes. The contrasted lighting helps immensely in this, setting a noirish mood that reflects the film’s oppressively dark and dirty world. An early bathroom scene particularly stands out, with a fluorescent tube gorgeously backlighting Deckard. Compare that shot to any number in Drive, and it’s clear that film-makers are still openly copying Blade Runner 35 years later – it’s just that cool.

Aside from the lighting, Scott is constantly filling the frame with detail and symbolism. Look out for numerous instances of eye imagery – a visual metaphor that suggests surveillance, humanity, and knowledge. Or perhaps you’d prefer something more subtle, like the fact that they modelled Eldon Tyrell’s bedroom on the Pope’s – something that immediately highlights the film’s religious themes. These little details all build upon one another, creating a rich tapestry of meaning. All of a sudden, Tyrell’s pet owl – also a bioengineered creation – becomes not only a symbol of his wealth, but also his knowledge and divine aspirations. These are the details that make Blade Runner such a beloved film. Repeat viewings are virtually mandatory for a film with this much depth.

The visuals would be empty though without talented actors backing them up, which is why it’s such a blessing that Blade Runner has one of the best performances of the 80’s in Hauer’s Batty. Larger than life, Batty is a magnificently complex creature. Deeply aware of his looming mortality and disposableness, Batty initially attempts to bargain with his creator, before finally rising above a system that considers him worthless. His bemused resignation at the end – a slight smile as he reminisces about the wonders he has seen – is one of the film’s crowning achievements, humanising him to an incredible degree. The life behind Hauer’s performance is awe-inspiring, particularly when taking into account the fact that Batty has had to fight for its recognition. The world sees him as nothing more than an off-world slave, making it even more powerful to watch Batty shed himself of those chains.

Blade Runner is a behemoth of science fiction, and rightly so. It’s an incredibly rich film that takes science fiction concepts dating back to the original Frankenstein and depicts them with nuance and humanity. What right does anyone have to dictate who is and is not human? What right do we have to create life and then dictate its purpose? These questions are at the core of Blade Runner and are served well by some of the best visuals of Ridley Scott’s career. As we approach the release date of Blade Runner 2049, it’s amazing that the original film can still hold its weight. Here’s to hoping that its moments won’t all be lost in time.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros

Movie Review – The Dark Tower

Nikolaj Arcel’s rehash of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is a load of mishandled hogwash.


Rhys Graeme-Drury

From The Shining and Carrie to The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, Stephen King’s library of novels and stories has served as the basis for a whole range of excellent cinema over the years. Until now, his self-ascribed magnum opus, The Dark Tower series – a sprawling eight-book saga that melds dark fantasy, science fiction and Western into one potent melting pot – has gone unadapted, largely because it is so large in scope and deep in lore.

The solution concocted by its quartet of screenwriters and director Nikolaj Arcel is to strip the series back to its basics. You’ve got a gunslinger named Roland (Idris Elba), the last in a long line of Arthurian guardians defending the titular tower, and a magical sorcerer called Walter (Matthew McConaughey), who seeks to destroy the tower and rule over the resultant chaos with Machiavellian glee. Tying them together is a young boy from Earth called Jake (Tom Taylor), who sees visions of the tower crumbling and sets out to help Roland on his quest.

Rather than formulating a straightforward adaptation of the first book, Arcel’s film acts more as a remix of the entire series as it borrows elements and ideas before mixing them together into a trim 90-minute film. And while this approach could work in theory, the reality is that Sony has somehow taken one of the most beloved fantasy book series’ of all time and cobbled together a boring, bland and generic action-adventure film that belongs at the bottom of the bargain bin.

Given its rich pedigree, The Dark Tower is bafflingly immaterial; the world, its characters and their conflicts aren’t explained or explored even in the slightest. We’re told that Jake is the key to protecting the tower, but not why. We’re told Walter wants to destroy the tower, but not why. We’re told Roland is impervious to Walter’s magic, but not why. The script is so busy trying to compress King’s ideas into the trim runtime that is doesn’t stop to answer silly questions like why, how, who and what the actual fuck is going on. It’s akin to pressing all seven Harry Potter novels into one film where the only characters are Harry, Dumbledore and Voldemort.

I would say The Dark Tower is so bad it belongs on TV, but in an era where shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld and Outlander consistently showcase how quality fantasy can be done on the small screen, that analogy simply doesn’t hold up. All told, The Dark Tower is banal and derivative to a degree scarcely believable; maybe it would have worked as an HBO or Starz series, but in its current form it’s just an inert glob of nothing that rates up there with the worst of the year.

The Dark Tower is available in Australian cinemas from August 17 

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

Movie Review – 3D Terminator 2: Judgement Day

3D? Who cares?! A cinema packed full of fans to share the experience of Terminator 2: Judgement Day on the big screen is the real treat here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Elle Cahill

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is not only one of the greatest sci-fi films of the 90s; it’s also one of the most successful examples of a sequel managing to move a story forward, while also offering us something slightly different to what came before it. Mixed with a kickass female lead, 90s nostalgia and visual effects that were ground-breaking in its day, it’s very easy to still appreciate it over a quarter of a century later… so much so, that it’s now coming to cinema near you, but this time in 3D.

Picking up 10 years on from the first film, a cyborg from the future (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels back in time again, but instead of killing Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the cyborg’s mission is to protect her son to ensure that Earth has a chance in the impending apocalypse.

The real question here is: does 3D take the film to another level? In my opinion, no. Does it make the experience of seeing the film on the big screen any less worthwhile? Hell no! Given that it was originally released in 1991, many (myself included) have never had the opportunity to watch the film in a cinematic environment. At the 3D preview screening, excitement rippled throughout the audience, with plenty of light-hearted heckling toward some of the more outdated components –  such as when John Connor (Edward Furlong) transforms into a 30-year-old man with a mullet during the motorcycle chase scene.

Undeniably, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a great film, and regardless of the impact that the 3D component did or didn’t have on the film, I would definitely recommend seeing it, just to be immersed in a crowd of like-minded people who equally love this classic.

3D Terminator 2: Judgement Day is available in Australian cinemas from August 24 

Image courtesy of StudioCanal Australia

 

 

Movie Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Luc Besson proves that kinetic visuals and a vivid imagination are no substitute for a watertight script and a cast with charisma.

⭐ ½
Rhys Graeme-Drury

An intergalactic metropolis called Alpha is under threat from a dark and mysterious force, so two special operatives ­– Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) – are dispatched to root out the evil and safeguard the thousands of alien species which call the station home.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is something of a pet project for French filmmaker Luc Besson; having grown up reading Pierre Christin’s original comics and with his previous work on films such as The Fifth Element in turn drawing heavily from said comics, one could say this adaptation is the culmination of an entire career of filmmaking.

It is undoubtedly an audacious undertaking; Valerian is both the most expensive French film ever financed and one of the most ambitious sci-fi films this side of James Cameron’s Avatar, with over 2,700 visual effects shots finding their way into the final product. However, all this flashiness can only stretch so far because Valerian is unfortunately a narrative dud that fails to engage on every level beneath the surface.

Its biggest flaw is unquestionably the script; peppered with bursts of playful banter, you get the sense that Besson is aiming for a hip and sexy Han and Leia vibe from his two youthful leads. Ultimately, this doesn’t transpire as DeHaan and Delevingne share about as much chemistry as a pair of discarded planks of wood. Frigid, lacking in spark and afforded only a handful of generic action one-liners to work with, I’m scratching my head to think of another film in recent memory that was woefully miscast as Valerian.

Don’t get me wrong, DeHaan has done good work in the past, but when I think of a roughish special forces ladies man in space, he wouldn’t even rate in my top 20 casting choices. The same can be said of Delevingne, who as usual lets her (admittedly on fleek) eyebrows do 80% of the work. The worst part is, every line is delivered in the same monotone and morose manner; one can only assume that every note given on set was something along the lines of “emote less” or “again, but this time try to look more bored”.

Alas, Valerian is just one of those perplexing films that has an enormous amount of imagination but no cohesive vision (see also: Jupiter Ascending). It feels like the entire plot was just pulled from a hat filled with random words – at one point, Laureline has to pay a pirate to steal a psychic jellyfish from the blowhole of a giant whale so she can wear it like a hat and see through time and space.

There are flashes of brilliance – an early interdimensional heist sequence is fun and Ethan Hawke plays a neon-soaked brigand who owns a nightclub that plays the Bee Gees even though it’s 1,000 years in the future – but all its wins are counteracted by a dozen equally notable failings.

Essentially you can count the good stuff in Valerian on one hand and one of them is a little pearl-pooping Pokemon that spends 90% of the film in Delevingne’s fanny pack. Definitely one to avoid, even for sci-fi diehards.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available in Australian cinemas from August 10 

Image courtesy of EntertainmentOne

Movie Review – A Monster Calls

Internal struggles and painful honesty make J.A. Bayona’s fairytale much, much more than your average boy-and-his-monster story. Bring tissues.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Corey Hogan

Things are not going well for twelve-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall). He’s frequently bullied at school and is having to face the prospect of moving in with his overbearing, grouchy grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), as his own mother (Felicity Jones) is dying from terminal cancer. To top things off, he experiences nightmares every night, in which the tree from a nearby graveyard becomes a towering monster (a mo-capped Liam Neeson) headed his way. The monster, however, reveals its intentions are to tell Conor stories, which he must interpret to help him come to terms with his mother’s illness.

It’s difficult to pinpoint who exactly J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible) has made A Monster Calls for. Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, who also wrote the screenplay, it’s coming-of-age outline would suggest that it is geared toward a younger audience, but its dark themes of grief, guilt, anger and coping with impending death are perhaps a bit too heavy and mature for kids. However, it’s fantastical and fairytale stylings, as well as its point of view of an adolescent boy could limit its appeal to adults. And yet Bayona’s film, which could be labelled the work of a visionary, has elements that will resonate with viewers of all ages.

Like his first two films, this is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is devastating – it’s without a doubt Bayona’s most visually accomplished film to date. He blends three visual mediums together to envision his fable, and the results are enormously effective and rewarding. There’s the live action, captured in exquisitely soft golds and greys by director of photography Oscar Faura, warming and cooling to fit the many moods the film goes through. There’s extraordinary CGI work from Félix Bergés and Pau Costa, whose monster is an incredibly detailed and jaw-dropping spectacle to behold, a far more ingenuitive and convincing tree-being than Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot. And there’s some truly stunning traditional animation that brings the monster’s stories to life; inspired by the illustrations of Jim Kay (who crafted the drawings we see Conor and his mother penning in the film), these sequences are like water paintings come to life, and are a hypnotic and grandiose feat.

Combined together, they make a unique and magnificent experience, but unlike most effects-driven monster movies, they work in harmony and exist to serve the confronting nature of the film’s narrative; despite their grandeur, they never once consume or overtake the characters or their ordeals.

Young Lewis MacDougall, in only his second film role following Pan, is a real revelation here; not only is he given the responsibility of carrying an entire film, he’s tasked with displaying the kind of perturbation on screen – constant grief, anger, fear and despair – that most films wouldn’t dare burden a child actor with. He’s robust and more than game, and worthy of the twelve award nominations he’s picked up for his breakthrough performance.

At times, the messages of A Monster Calls can feel heavy-handed, even a little forced. The monster’s stories, which often deal with good people capable of bad things, and bad people capable of good things, seem to push the idea that there are no good or bad people, only people. How these fit into the scheme of the story is a little ambiguous, even morally questionable; ultimately it’s down to the viewer to decide. But these are minor squabbles; forget Kong: Skull Island, this is without a doubt the monster movie of the year. One can only hope Bayona will breathe the same magic and life into his next project – a shift to the realm of the Hollywood franchise for the Jurassic World sequel.

A Monster Calls is available in Australian cinemas from July 27

Image courtesy of EntertainmentOne Films

Movie Review – Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott reforges his covenant with the Alien franchise, but abandons the spark that once lit it up.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Zachary Cruz-Tan

Alien: Covenant follows on from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and will no doubt lead into his classic Alien (1979), but it feels like a movie that has exhausted itself and run out of ideas. After thirty-eight years and seven films, how many new ways can there be to hide the dreaded monster in the dark and make it go “Boo!”?

The Alien movies ran their course by the time Aliens (1986) was done. Then Prometheus came about in 2012 carrying the Alien DNA and a bag full of new and exciting possibilities. Now Covenant arrives as the inevitable sequel and leaves all the promise of Prometheus behind. For those who found Prometheus to be a step too detached from the franchise, I suspect Covenant will be a comfort. But for those, like me, who enjoyed the new ground Prometheus was exploring, this movie will seem like a toothless clone of a once great empire.

Alien was a fantastic film because it was patient and understood the mechanics of horror, which used space, lighting and pacing to draw us in to a perpetual state of anticipation. It employed the Jaws formula – by keeping the monster that could potentially eat the entire cast hidden for most of the film, its eventual revelation was shocking. Covenant dashes headfirst into the action, regularly foregoing any kind of build-up. We see the aliens up close and very often, many times in wide shots that reveal their entire humanoid physique. Yes, by now we are no longer strangers to what the aliens look like, but when you throw them at us from every direction and pay little attention to where they come from or how they emerge, the film simply becomes an action machine.

You could argue that Covenant, therefore, is more about its characters and continuing the story that was introduced in the previous film. This it does naturally. Michael Fassbender returns as an android, and we get a new ship with a new crew made up of familiar faces like Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Demián Bichir and Katherine Waterston, though who they are is not as important as what they do. Most of what they do is a re-enactment of what all the past Alien crews have done: scream their heads off and run for their lives.

I think by now we have all been Aliened-out, just like we’ve been Transformered-out and Pirates of the Caribbeaned-out. These pictures have crossed over into tired repetitiveness. Covenant is as well-made as any other big budget movie out there, with lots of tantalising visuals and ideas that are never developed or pushed to fruition. What it lacks is purpose and direction. It feels strangely eventless, as if two hours go by and we’re suddenly at the climax. If this had been the first of its kind, maybe it might’ve been something to remember. Unfortunately, its kind has been done and dusted, and then dusted some more.

Alien: Covenant is available in Australian cinemas from May 11

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Movie Review – Colossal

A weirdly wonderful multilayered monster mash just stomped into cinemas. And it’s not Godzilla.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Corey Hogan

Gloria’s (Anne Hathaway) seemingly cushy life is unravelling at the seams. She simultaneously loses her job and is dumped by her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) due to her unhinged alcoholism and general reckless disregard towards life, forcing her out of his New York apartment and back to her hometown. Here she reconnects with old school friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who helps her to get set up and begin rebuilding her life. Unexpectedly, news reports of a giant monster destroying Seoul suddenly surface, and Gloria eventually comes to the realisation she is connected to and in control of it, and that her pointless life may in fact have a huge effect on the world.

The lawsuits surrounding it suggested otherwise, but Colossal is wholly unique. Godzilla’s parent company’s attempts to sue for plagiarism wound up unsuccessful, and rightfully so, as writer-director Nacho Vigalondo’s (Open Windows) kaiju comedy is about as far away from your typical monster mash as it gets. It’s pretty damn near unclassifiable in fact; marketed as a sort of quirky indie romantic comedy (with city-levelling creatures), it’s all of these things and none of them.

Instead, Colossal constantly subverts expectations and continually takes surprisingly dark turns, winding up a metaphor-heavy meditation on the consequences of alcoholism, violent behaviour and harbouring ugly, hate-filled feelings. There’s a colossal amount of substance to chew on here (pun intended), and a tight-knit cast of deep, complex characters who range from (and slide between) sympathetic and truly detestable. Vigalondo’s most innovative move is keeping the human drama front-and-centre; this element winds up far more chaotic and destructive. Huge spectacle is avoided unlike any other creature feature, making the stakes much more intimate yet concurrently grand in ramifications; like every approach to the film it’s unusual, but it’s massively absorbing madness.

Anne Hathaway, who, after her Oscar win became the subject of a strange amount of hate, looks set to shrug off that career slump she’s been stuck in the past few years. Gloria is deeply flawed and very much her own worst enemy, but Hathaway gives her charm and humour that makes it easy to flip instantly between laughing at her situation and pitying it. The desire to see her better herself is always there, and she’s giddily watchable as she attempts to work out why her inner demons have manifested themselves as a literal monster.

Surprisingly though, it’s Jason Sudeikis who’s given the real meaty stuff to work with. Smug jerks are his specialty, but here he’s on an intense new level that steers much of the film’s unpredictable turns and shocking revelations. It’s difficult to discuss without giving too much away, but it’s very likely the best performance he’s ever delivered.

Though it won’t break the box office like its kaiju kin, it deserves that kind of recognition; it’s enormously creative, monstrously original and colossally entertaining.

Colossal is available in Australian cinemas from April 13

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Movie Review – Power Rangers

Looks like somebody forgot to pay the power bill.

⭐ ½
Josip Knezevic

Forever young. I want to be, forever young… where did it go so, so wrong?

Power Rangers was meant to be exciting. It was meant to be fun, yet gritty. Humorous, yet dark. The child within me ached for all of this and more. In the end, it didn’t come anywhere close to this, but nevertheless, I’m still hopeful that a future sequel can one day recuperate what has been lost.

For the uninitiated, Power Rangers follows a team of young superheroes who are tasked with protecting the fate of Earth against the many evil forces of the universe. The history of these rangers dates back to the dinosaur era, and we pick up the story with a new batch of heroes who are suddenly recruited in order to prevent the oncoming end of the world. And I truly do mean new: the entire main cast is made up of fresh faces against a backdrop of Hollywood A-listers in Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks. Perth’s very own Dacre Montgomery landed the lucrative role as lead red power ranger, but more on him later.

Let’s break it down.

Power Rangers follows in the footsteps of other failed reboots. It takes an original idea that worked the first time, then throws in some uninteresting characters and ridiculously gimmicky plot devices. Audiences come along to see their favourite characters kick ass in colourful spandex tights, then stay to see these heroes work together and grow together as a team. This is where Power Rangers goes so fundamentally wrong – it offers little opportunity for this team dynamic to unfold.

Amidst a storyline that follows convenience after convenience, none of the characters are as charismatic or charming as our beloved Marvel superheroes. Instead, we’re given a team of Power Rangers who are generic, unfunny, confusing and just downright annoying. Yes, this is the first time we see superheroes from the LGBTQ and autistic communities, but I just wish they were more engaging. Montgomery’s performance is probably the best out of the five (though RJ Cyler as the Blue Ranger has his moments), but this isn’t saying much. The blame inevitably lands with director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac).

Israelite is far too focused on experimenting with different Dutch angles from absurd distances to worry about a little thing called storytelling. For example, moments that were intended to be dramatic accidentally came off as comedic. I couldn’t help but laugh at Elizabeth Banks’ performance with her overacting and horrendous dialogue. Just thinking about it right now makes me crack up.

If you’re after a far better and more worthy reboot to the franchise, YouTube Joseph Khan’s film, which is infinitely more impressive and only 14 minutes long.

Power Rangers is available in Australian cinemas from March 22

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films